Where We Live: Adult Ed For Teens

Thousands of teens are leaving traditional high school and opting for Adult Ed.

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Where We Live: Adult Ed For Teens
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Where We Live: Adult Ed For Teens

Thousands of teens are leaving traditional high school in Connecticut and opting for adult education programs instead.

These programs have more flexible hours and fewer requirements for graduation, allowing students - in some cases - to finish school more quickly.

But there are complicated reasons why some teens are taking this opportunity.  One is that some low-performing students - or those with troubled pasts - are being “pushed out” of the traditional school system...and there aren’t always spaces in “alternative” schools.

Today, where we live, we’ll follow up on our WNPR series about kids who are leaving the school system, but not necessarily “dropping out”.  

We’ll talk about a report that shined light on a population of “invisible students.”  And, we’ll take a look at what kind of education teens are getting when they opt for classes meant for adults.  Are they getting the same opportunities as their peers?

We’ll also look at a new, national model for adult ed.

This episode originally aired on March 15, 2012.



Adult Ed

Thanks for doing the program on this important topic. A surprisingly high percentage of our community depends on adult learning opportunities. At Hartford Public Library we are about to begin a community dialogue on this topic and I invite everyone to join us. Community dialogues are action-oriented, facilitated small group discussions including a broad diversity of participants. We're having a kickoff event at the Library (500 Main Street) at 5:30pm on Thursday March 22. More info - 860-695-6365.

Listener Email from Mary

I am so happy that NPR is exploring the adult ed field. I was an adult ed teacher (GED) for 22 years. Over the years, I have seen many success stories of students who could not make it in the traditional high schools, and then thrived in the adult ed environment.

In adult ed, there is not the drama of high school. There is no requirement for physical education classes and there is no lunch time. Students can make their schedule according to their needs. There are three paths for an adult to take to get his high school diploma—GED, CDP, and EDP. Students enroll in the program suited to his / her needs, skills, background.

The reality is that a large number of adults lack very basic literacy skills. These students must enroll in the ABE classes (Adult Basic Education) first to build their literacy skills. Many of them drop out before they reach a high school reading level. There is a great need for funding for helping adults build literacy skills.

Unfortunately, funding for adult education programs has been steadily dropping over the last several years. Hartford’s superintendent totally eliminated the CDP program to save money. But, adult education gives the state more bang for the buck than any other high school completion program.

Adult education has been a savior for so many students. It is kind of a well kept secret, and I am glad NPR is giving the subject airtime.